Judges dismiss Trump-era immigration case in Biden win

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Wednesday it was wrong to enter a dispute over a Trump-era immigration rule that the Biden administration abandoned, so the judges dismissed the case.

The court had said it would answer the question of whether Republican-run states, led by Arizona, could adopt the legal defense of the Trump-era “public impeachment” rule that allows immigrants who use food stamps or other public benefits, green cards refused .

The High Court heard arguments in the case in February and appeared on track to decide it. But in an unsigned, one-sentence statement Wednesday, the court said it was dismissing the case. That leaves a lower court ruling in favor of the Biden administration, which states could not intervene.


Chief Justice John Roberts wrote separately to say he agreed with the decision to dismiss the case. Roberts said there were “a great many issues connected” in the case “beyond” the issue the court agreed to decide. “It has become clear that this mare’s nest could stand in the way of deciding the case, or at least make our resolution of this question more difficult,” he wrote.

Roberts said the court’s complaint should not be construed as a “reflection… on the reasonable resolution of other pending or future litigation relating to, its repeal, or the replacement of a new rule by the 2019 Public Charge Rule.”

Roberts was joined by three other justices on the Conservative majority of the court: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch was appointed to the court by Trump. The former president’s two other nominees, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, said nothing.

At the heart of the case was a federal law that says green card applicants cannot be a burden on the state or “public levies.” The Trump administration expanded the definition significantly, saying use of public services, including food stamps or Medicaid, could be disqualifying. This led to legal challenges, but the The Supreme Court allowed the directive to go into effect while these went on.


The Biden administration reversed the rule and did so since announced new guidelines. The government had said that in practice the government only denied green cards to three people under Trump’s rule and that their applications were later reopened and approved. Immigrant groups have said the rule’s greater impact scared immigrants, leading them to cut benefits or not register for them over fears it could affect their applications for legal permanent residents.

In addition to Arizona, the states involved in the case were Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

In a statement, Brittni Thomason, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney’s Office, said, “Our coalition of states will consider how best to proceed with this important fight.”


The case is State of Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco, California, 20-1775.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/15/justices-dismiss-trump-era-immigration-case-in-a-biden-win/ Judges dismiss Trump-era immigration case in Biden win

Sarah Y. Kim

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